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Shun Hypocrisy – Part 1

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This Hypocrisy, or pretending to be what you are not, is offensive to God. And yet, this is what many people practise today. It was the same thing during the public ministry of Jesus Christ in Israel. And He minced no words in warning the people: “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). He similarly corrected the false interpretation of true righteousness.

He also revealed the righteousness of the heart, obtained by faith in Christ, necessary for the citizens of the Kingdom. In this continuation of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ exposes the false practice of self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, and teaches us the true righteousness that pleases God, our heavenly Father.

True righteousness, the righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, aims at doing all things only for the glory of God. The desire of the righteous is not to seek men’s praise or to please and exalt self. His desire is to please God and glorify Him in all things. Such acts of righteousness that begin and end with God in view will be rewarded by Him.

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The whole chapter calls us to fix our hearts and eyes on our Heavenly Father (6:1,4,6,8,9,18,24,26,32,33). The natural man desires the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43; 5:44), but the righteous seeks only the praise of God (Romans 2:29; 2 Corinthians 10:18).

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, TO BE SEEN OF THEM.” Here, the Lord cautions us and condemns doing any act of righteousness with the motive or desire to be seen and praised by them. Merely being seen by men is not what He condemns, but doing any good thing mainly and deliberately to be recognised by men, to be praised by men, to draw attention to ourselves. Some good deeds cannot be hidden, but they are still recognised and will be rewarded by God, if the motive is only to glorify God (Acts 9:36-39; 10:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:9,10; Galatians 2:10; Acts 20:34,35; 24:16,17; Matthew 26:6-13).

There is no reward from God for those who seek the praise and recognition of men. God knows all things. He does not only see men’s actions, He also sees the motives and the desires too. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). We cannot judge others (1 Corinthians 4:5). We can only judge and examine our own hearts to make sure that our motives and desires are right and acceptable before God.

Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 6:1-4. Matthew 6:1,5,16; 23:5,13-15,25-28; Luke 12:1; 16:15; 2 Kings 10:16,31; John 12:43; Acts 5:1-11; Isaiah 29:13,14; Mark 7:6-9.

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